The Bargaining for the Common Good convening held at the LEC February 22-24 brought together over 200 labor, community and racial justice leaders representing 50 campuses across the country to strategize about running common good campaigns in the era of Janus. The Center for Innovation in Worker Organization at SMLR, led by AAUP/AFT member Marilyn Sneiderman, hosted the overall gathering. National and local unions participating in and sponsoring the gathering included AFT, NEA, CWA, AFSCME, SEIU, IUOE, UNITEHERE, UAW and the Teamsters Union. We asked each union to bring community/racial justice partners with them. The Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown and the Action Center for Race and the Economy co-sponsored with us. AAUP/AFT was a major partner in every way!
The convening included sessions about the theory and strategy of how to build the power to win and transform contract negotiations into broader community campaigns, and how to wage inspiring common good campaigns that connect workers more deeply to their union and increase membership in preparation for the Janus Decision. Cohorts of union, community, and student leaders discussed a shared vision for building long-term community-labor partnerships that can organize for common good demands at the bargaining table and beyond. State and university cohorts made concrete plans for working together locally, and incorporating elements of common good campaigns in their campaigns. The Bargaining for the Common Good Convening joined together with the National United Students Against Sweatshops Conference for a few hours of discussion of how unions, community groups and student groups can work together more effectively to win bigger and broader campaigns. Describing the solidarity of RutgersOne was the highpoint for the day!
We had strong representation from across the US— a major cohort from California and the whole UC system out west, U Mass and Yale came from the Northeast, Spelman, University of Tennessee and Duke came from the south, a big cohort from Illinois schools, and from our neighbors at UPenn, Temple, CUNY, and of course Rutgers, among many others.